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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  January 22, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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ethical treatment of animals. dawn would not have remained a trainer at seaworld for 15 years if she felt that the whales were not cared for. directly from her family. that's it for me. i'm brook bald lin. thanks for being with me. next up, "the lead" with jake tapper. do you think you could concentrate on landing a triple axel if you believed terrorists were at that very moment threatening your life? i'm jake tapper. this is "the lead." the world lead. it's finally happened. a direct threat made against the lives of americans going to the winter games. how worried are athletes? at least one member of team u.s. sashgs telling his cheering section, shay home. the national lead. just getting home from work tonight might almost be an olympic sport for many freezing in the bitter cold. some of our major cities look like they've been hit by an avalanche. is relief on the way? in national news, unlike some democratic presidents we could name, there's never been a doubt about whether barack obama
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inhal inhaled. but if the president believes pot is no more dangerous than booze, shouldn't he tell his drug czar? good afternoon, everybody. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we'll begin with the world lead. in 16 days the top athletes in world meet in sochi, russia, for the winter olympics. the competitors are hardly the only ones with jangled nerves as the day draws closer. today with russian authorities on the lookout for so-called black widows who may be part of a plot to attack the games, the u.s. olympic committee is confirming it received an e-mail warning of terrorist attacks to visitors to sochi. the u.s. committee coordinates travel plans for the whole american delegation. however, the international olympic committee is downplaying the e-mail, saying, quote, it contains no threat and appears to be a random message from a member of the public, unquote. but the white house says it isn't just your imagination. we are, indeed, hearing more and more about threats to the olympics by the day.
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>> we have seen an uptick in threat reporting prior to the olympics, which is of course of concern. although it is also not unusual for a major international event. >> even before this new threat, athletes were starting to feel spooked. imagine watching your son train his entire life to become one of the top athletes in the sport but when he makes it to the olympics he says, mom, maybe you shouldn't come. u.s. speed skater tucker fredericks has asked his loved ones to stay home over fears of their safety at the games. nick, what do we know about the nature of this new threat? >> reporter: well, jake, this e-mail which seems to be the same one received by the hungarian, italian, german, and slovenvenian national olympic committees seems to be a threat to blow e up part of a contingent, but it was quite
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swiftly down played by the international olympic committee. there's been other traffic intercepted which purports to perhaps have been communication between russian officials discussing a threat. but in this part of the world for a decade now you see a lot of chatter like this confused signals at times, and of course everyone's deeply scrutinized anything they can right now to what might threats could possibly be around. we've seen warnings about potentially three female potential suicide bombers in the area, one maybe near sochi. that's often something you'll see in this part of the world quite regularly. week by week, notices will go out looking for those who attack on a regular basis. but with this huge international threat, those daily attacks are under massive international scrutiny, of course, because people are terrified about what might happen to athletes when they come here. >> how successful can the russian security operation be based on what you're seeing
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there? >> reporter: well, they'll throw down a substantial dragnet, a sort of cordon around the games itself. it's already pretty hard to get anywhere near that area. machines were down and they couldn't actually issue the badges. the problems come down to the training and the knowledge of the actual soldiers and troops on the ground. the policemen said he'd only been there a day and didn't know the name of the street he was on. occasionally they lack coordination to prevent stuff getting through. at sochi they'll probably do quite a good job and adler where the olympic village is at keeping major disasters out, but this is a massive region that stretches all the way over to the caspian sea, as well. so many of these blasts we've been hearing have been originated with the brother who is bombed boston. it will be difficult to put a lid on all violence across this massive region for the entire
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period. they don't have the manpower. bear in mind, bombs, assassinations going off nearly every day for the past ten years. i don't exaggerate there. it's a reas ee's a region that' volatile far long time. the idea of the russian government focusing resources to switch that violenolence off si won't happen. >> nick paton walsh, thank you so much. all these reports leave the world wondering as well as athletes traveling to compete in the olympics, is it safe to go to sochi? i want to bring in bob baer, cnn national security analyst and a former cia operative. bob, good to see you as always. for everything we've heard, do you think there's a real terror threat in sochi? should we be worried? >> oh, absolutely. i think american citizens are at risk in russia either in the north caucasus, sochi, moscow, st. petersburg.
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this group, mainly led by chechens, is formidable. they're militarily trained. they're able to hit. they've got access to explosives. they said they're going to hit and they usually follow through. >> one of the things we heard u.s. officials express concern about is the degree of cooperation between the u.s. and russia. members of congress in sochi, other officials saying russia is not sharing enough intelligence. that's also going to be a concern, i would think. >> absolutely, jake. i sat across the table with russians for years, very friendly, but they just never give up anything, especially when it involves their internal security. they will do everything they can to protect americans. they're a very good intelligence service, but they're not going to share information with the cia or the fbi on the threat. they just won't do it. it's a soviet mentality. it doesn't surprise me. that's the way it is. >> take a listen to this sound
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from house homeland security committee chairman michael mccaul. he was visiting with officials in sochi and he talked about the type of attack he would anticipate there. take a listen. >> i think we're going see more explosions like we saw at the train station and the bus. there are softer targets outside of the perimeter that are close to the olympic village where they can make the same statement. they know that the eyes of the world now are on these olympics. and what better way to make a statement than at these olympics. and that's my concern. >> bob, does that sound right to you, the idea that soft targets, not inside the olympic village, but outside is more likely? >> jake, absolutely. they're going to go for mass casualties, make the biggest splash they can, embarrass moscow, anything necessary they will do. and i think we can pretty well count at it. something at the very end may change this, some negotiation or decision on the part of terrorists.
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but, you know, up until now i haven't seen that. >> the viewers who might not be familiar with the type of terrorist threat that comes out of the caucasus, how dangerous are they? where do they stack up -- how would you compare it for instance to al qaeda? >> they tear best in the world. they've got military training. they're more determined. they've got a bottomless pool of willing suicide bombers. they can get to missiles. they can blow up infrastructure. they are very, very good. and people like the chechens in particular worry more than anybody in the world. >> that's terrifying. bob, stand by if you would. we want to come back to you after this report coming up. a plot to bomb the u.s. embassy in tel aviv foiled, israel says, by its security forces. the prime minister cease office said israeli authorities arrested members of a, quote, terror cell operating under al qaeda, ones who were planning attacks inside israel, and the
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u.s. embassy was not the only alleged target. i want to get to ben wedeman live in jerusalem. who are the suspects and what exactly are they accused of hatching here? >> there are three suspects from palestinian and east jerusalem. what according to israel's fairly formidable domestic security agency, a man in gaza contacted by a facebook and skype one of these three men in east jerusalem and sent him files on how to manufacture explosive devices. now, this man, according to the shin bet, was going to go to turkey and then into the rebel-controlled parts of northern syria where he would receive military training. he would then return to israel, hook up with jihadis who would have entered the country with forged russian passports and he would have provided explosives and other material with which these jihadis would have attacked u.s. embassy in tel aviv. the convention center in
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jerusalem, which is just near the cnn bureau, as well as attacking an israeli bus on the west bank. what's interesting in all of this is the syria angle. just yesterday, jake, i was speaking with a senior israeli intelligence analyst who said that they are now concerned that there are as many as 10,000 jihadis in northern syria, a real source of instability for israel and many of the other countries in this region. jake? >> ben wiedman in jerusalem, thanks very much. back to cnn security analyst bob baer. what do you make of these arrests? do you think this was likely a credible threat? >> i don't think it's credible. it may have been aspirational. they may have had the plans on the books, may have sent people here and there. but al qaeda cannot operate in the west bank or jerusalem or gaza. it's too difficult for them. they couldn't make a concerted attack. they'd like to, yes. the israelis have placed well
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too wired for them to get away with this. what scares me e more of course as mentioned is syria and that would be mainly rocket attacks across the golan heights. but we'll wait to see on that. >> bob baer, thank you so much. we appreciate it. when we come back, digging out in the wicked cold from boston to d.c., the east coast is feeling the pain after yesterday's snowstorm. we'll check in on some of the hardest hit areas next. plus, republicans gathering today here in frigid d.c. to work on the issues they think will help them win in 2016. here's a hint -- it involves fighting back against what democrats call the war on women. [announcer] word is getting out.
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welcome back to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. a heavy snowfall in january on the east coast doesn't exactly sound like news that should be accompanied by a fainting count that is until you see the record snowfall. this latest winter storm left behind. more than a foot of snow blanketed the i-95 corridor from washington, d.c., to boston. the storm system shut down schools and created a travel mess not just on the roads but at airports, forcing the cancellation of more than 1,400 flights nationwide. cnn crews are feeling the freeze first hand. meteorologist chad myers in plymouth where there are reports of 18-inch snow drifts. margaret connolly is all cozy at
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laguardia. let's start with you, chad. how bad is it up there? >> reporter: it's warmer than last night by about 15 degrees. at least it seems it. our snow is somewhere between zero and 12 inches. because there's literally no way to figure out what is real snow, what's a drift, what's plowed, what's scoured because i can see the grass here. and then all of a sudden i walk into a drift. that's at least 18 inches. and all of a sudden yesterday the wind blew and this snow, because it is so light, just drifted. something else that happened in the wind too. about three miles south of here at plymouth beach, the waves started rolling, and let me tell you it was like something out of a movie. i walked down there almost at high tide and these waves were crashing onshore over the seawall, onto people that were scrambling away, getting wet, literally. so was our car as we were taking
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pictures of this. but the waves were coming in, the beaches being eroded, and probably the next storm we talk about is how much there may not be much beach esz left for the summer unless they take that sand and try to push it back up onshore. alison kosik is cold on long island. just like me, alison. how are you doing today? >> reporter: yes. cold as you said. what's funny as we sit and report about this snow, many people say, look, it's winter, it's supposed to snow. but the storm that moved through here was doozy. it dumped anywhere from 6 inches to more than a foot of snow here on long island. the good news is that it left behind really good snow to play with. the light, fluffy kind, not the heavy, mucky, wet kind. this kind you can actually make little snowballs and have some fun. the bad news is, yeah, sure, the storm has moved out but guess what it left behind. brutally cold temperatures. right now it's 13 degrees. feels more like 4 below zero. as the sun goes down, even as picturesque as this picture is,
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it's going to get a lot colder. whatever snow has, quote, melted is going to refreeze and make the roads very, very icy. let's go to the skies and talk about the airlines with my colleague margaret connolly. hey, margaret. >> reporter: thanks, alison. it's a very different picture here at laguardia compared to yesterday at this time when this airport had cleared out a lot of flights had been canceled. we'll give you a look around to see a lot of people hanging out. they got to the airport early because they knew their flights might be delayed. it's also warm in here. this is where we've been hanging out unlike my colleagues who have been braving the cold outside. now, there were about 4,000 flights that take off in this region on a daily basis, 20% of them canceled today. the port authority stopped calculating these cancellations because they say the crush of the storm is over. now, we are expecting operations to be back to normal, jake, by today. back to you in washington. >> all right, margaret connolly, chad myers, alison kosik, thank
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you so much. coming up next, the dramatic moment on the world stage as the syrian foreign minister repry manhandles the secretary-general of the united nations for trying to cut him off. plus, republicans meeting today to talk about the future of their party as they look ahead to 2016. which candidates do they think can take back the white house? [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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♪ mattress discounters welcome back to "the lead." now it's time for more world news. it's being billed as a peace conference, but the hostile back and forth we're watching unfold at the syria talks in switzerland is starting to feel as futile as the spiraling civil war itself. check out this testy exchange
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between the syrian foreign minister, walid muallem and the leader of the united nations, ban ki-moon, who interrupted muallem after running over his allotted time at the microphone. >> you live in new york. i live in syria. i have the right to give the syrian version here in this forum. >> yes, of course. >> this is my right. >> secretary of state john kerry has called the talks a test for the international community, but with this level of vitriol are the talks in danger of collapsing? cnn's foreign affairs reporter is live with secretary kerry in switzerland. sounds like things got pretty heated for a bunch of diplomats. >> reporter: that's right, jake. i've been to a lot of these conferences over the years and i've never seen anything like it. secretary of state john kerry
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got the fireworks started saying there's absolutely no way president bashar al assad could take part in a transitional government. that got the minister started. he addressed kerry by name, saying you have absolutely no right to determine the fate of the syrian people. and you noted the u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon usually very mild-mannered and tim duncan, some would say, really kind of trying to take to task the syrian foreign minister repeatedly trying to cut him up. so there was a lot of fireworks today. >> as you noted, elise, kerry says there's no place in a transition government for assad. obviously the chances of assad willfully giving up power have seen for years now nonexistent. what's the end goal here? does what happens there today even matter given his firm grip on power there? >> reporter: well, everybody expected today to be full of fiery rhetoric and vitriol as you say. but the real work is going to begin tomorrow and the hard part
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is tomorrow when the u.n. envoy lakhdar brahimi is going to try to get the syrian side, the opposition to sit down. there is the problem, jake. they're both speaking what they call in the middle east the dialogue of the death. they're speaking past each other. the syrian opposition and the rest of the world really here today is saying assad has to go. the regime is saying, hey, that's a nonstarter for us. so it's really hard to see how they could have any progress and, indeed, the opposition is saying what's the point of talking. so it's unclear if this is the beginning of a process or the end of a process. and the fact that iran was not here today really syria's key backer not only with money and weapons but with fighters on the ground, it's hard to say that this is a peace conference if syria and iran are not in the room together trying to find a solution. >> as you know, elise, earlier this week cnn's christiane amanpour reported on these horrific images purportedly of starvation and torture of
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syrians by the syrian government. they came from a defector. if real, they would appear to be proof or evidence of crimes against humanity. what would be the next step in that process? >> reporter: well, this is part of the strategy i think of the united states to talk more not only about these images but about systemic torture, starvation, type of war crimes and try and put a scare in some of assad's inner circle to try and peel them away and get them to abandon him. you know, before we came to geneva and montroeb, we heard from a senior state department official saying these images are reminiscent of concentration camp images. they're hoping this will induce the inner circle to sit down and try and be part of the solution here. jake, i think everyone really wants this to end. it's just a way of getting all sides to find some common
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ground. and i think that when they sit down now they're going to try and talk about small things that could ease the growing humanitarian situation on the ground, prisoner exchanges, delivery of humanitarian aid, maybe some local cease-fires, but as they do that i think the united states and the united nations and others are going to be building the case for war crimes. so if and when this conflict ends, people will be brought to justice. >> elise labbot in switzerland. kiev is starting to look like a war zone. burned-out shells of police buses lined the streets in an ongoing protest that's left at least four people dead, hundreds more injured according to the movement's volunteer medical service. demonstrators there are clashing with police over new laws that limit the right to protest in ukraine. tensions first began when president viktor yanukovych decided in november to reject a planned trade deal with the european union and turn toward russia instead. the leaders of three opposition
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factions met with yanukovych to try to stop the chaos but that ended with a warning from an opposition leader. "if tomorrow the president does not make a step forward, we will attack." up next, president obama might not think pot is any more dangerous than alcohol but one former drug czar ain't buying it. i'll talk to him next. later, his sideline rant lasted just seconds but he's still defending himself days later. what richard sherman is saying now. our sports lead is ahead. farmer: hello, i'm an idaho potato farmer. and our giant idaho potato truck is still missing.
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so my dog and i we're going to go find it. it's out there somewhere spreading the good word about idaho potatoes and raising money for meals on wheels. but we'd really like our truck back, so if you see it, let us know, would you? thanks. what?
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for when you get married, move into a new house, or add a car to your policy. personalized coverage and savings. all the things humans need to make our world a little less imperfect. call... and ask about all the ways you could save. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? welcome back to "the lead." in national news, it's a decades-old parenting problem neatly outlined by a classic psa from the 1980s. >> who taught you how to do this stuff? >> you, all right! i learned it by watching you! >> how do you tell your children not to use drugs if you've tried them yourself? it's problem our own president faces as he recently told the new yorker magazine. "as has been well documented i smoked pot as a kid and i view it as a bad habit and a vice sh
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not very different from the cigarettes i smoked as a young person through a big chunk of my adult life. i don't think it is more dangerous than alcohol. it's not something i encourage and i've told my daughters i think it's a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy." a sea change from former first lady nancy reagan's war on drugs and battle cries of just say no. still, the president is not alone in his past indulgences. according to an august gallup poll, 38% of americans have smoked marijuana, 5% more than back in 1985. joining me now is a man who dedicated years of his wife to the war on drugs, john walters was director of the white house office of national drug control policy for the bush administration, shorthanded as drug czar. mr. walters, thanks so much for being here. what the president said as has been pointed out is contradicted by his drug czar. if you look at the website of the drug czar, which is part of the white house website, the
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fact that the president thinks that what he called experiments in washington state and colorado, legalization of marijuana for recreational use, not medicinal use, should go forward. the white house website says, "the administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana and other drugs because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs and pose significant health and safety risks to all americans, particularly young people." why do you think there's a disconnect like that? >> i think like many people his age baby boomers and post baby boomers the president hasn't kept up with what's going on here. and i think science over the last 50 years has shown us this is more dangerous, not less dangerous. you read his autobiography, you can see when he does talk about using marijuana, he basically says what we don't. marijuana makes you stupid. he says he was stupid when he was doing it. the problem is for those of us who lived through this, we had a lot of friends who got stuck, had their lives derailed, maybe
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they got stuck longer. now we have research that says sustained use from adolescent onward may cause you to lose iq points permanently, can cause other health problems. other nations who have tried this like the netherlands are trying to reel back. the president is kind of living in a recollection that people his age have, which has not kept up with the facts and kind of romanticizes youth. >> two things to ask you about. one, the marijuana he presumably smoked i guess in the '70s is different from the marijuana on the streets today. right? what's available today is much, much more potent. >> yeah. the federal government actually tracks this, not that he's reading it. but about 3% thc, the psychoactive ingredient. you can buy it with up to 20% thc. it's more addictive, damaging, can cause more psychosis even and worsen it for people who have mental illness or trigger mental illness. that research is relatively new.
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when he and i were young boys that wasn't known and people can say it was harmless fun. you can't say that anymore. >> one criticism i've heard of you is you tend to blur marijuana use and marijuana abuse. are you talking about abuse now when you talk about psychosis and severe mental health problems and iq? you're not talking about somebody who smokes a joint once a month or something like that. >> well, the problem is once you start using, the tendency is for a significant portion of the people who start to go on and become more heavy users. now, some of them do that. the president says he used heavily for a while then stopped. some people have that. some people don't. some people use other things. getting high becomes a kind of habit. and so the anecdotal example of somebody who i once used drugs and i didn't have a problem now doesn't negate the fact that we have over 50% of the people who need treatment for illegal drug use and abuse in this country
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are marijuana users. it's more important than all other drugs combined. >> let's talk about the reason why president obama wanted these experiments to go forward in washington state and colorado. he said, "middle-class kids don't get locked up for smoking pot and poor kids do. and african-american kids and latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid harsh policies. we should not be locking up kids for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing." fair criticism? >> we haven't locked up kids for a long time for -- >> 18- and 19-year-olds, when he said kids. >> i'm saying we don't lock up -- he hasn't kept up with the fact that the criminal justice system is now the single biggest source of referral to treatment of any institution in our country including the health care system. we take people and sort them with drug courts and diversion programs who get into the criminal justice system because their lives are out of control.
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nobody is frisking people on the street and finding a baggie of marijuana. most people charged and deferred are involved in prostitution, theft, robbery, sometimes violent crime. >> bigger crimes than just possession. >> when you're violent and you need to be incarcerated to not victimize others that happens. mostly what happens is people are referred into treatment and drug courts and that has been a great increase both in democrat and republican -- >> former drug czar john walters, thanks for coming in, braving the snow. we'll let you go back and play with your kids. >> thank you. up next on "the lead," it's been the law of the land for four decades but thousands descended on washington today in protest. this time they've changed things up. and this cautionary note to any actors vying for a spot in the next quentin tarantino movie -- don't tell anybody about it. wow, this hotel is amazing. oh no.
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welcome to what's next. comcastnbcuniversal. welcome back to "the lead." in the politics lead now, on this day 41 years ago, the u.s. supreme court handed down the roe v. wade decision that paved the way for legalized abortion nationwide. during her confirmation hearings, justice sonia sotomayor called roe v. wade settled law, but you will find few agreeing among the thousands of anti-abortion activists who converged on the national mall today for the annual march of life. among them a new president for the organization who seems to be trying a new approach and tone about an issue that is one of the most controversial and contentious in american discourse today. ♪ it's going to be all right
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>> reporter: since the case was decided in 1973, anti-abortion activists have come to washington each january to protest on the anniversary of roe v. wade. today tens of thousands of protesters marched through the snow and ice hoping to change minds on an issue that has divided the country for decades. what's your theme this year? >> our theme this year is adoption, especially that adoption is a noble decision for a birth mother. >> reporter: gene knee monahan is the newly installed president for march of life. they're focusing as much on creating adoptions as preventing abortions. >> we're trying to do whatever we can to encourage women who are facing an unexpected pregnancy to choose life. >> reporter: under her leadership, the tone here at the rally seems to have changed. there seem to be fewer of the incendiary images that are often the hallmark of anti-abortion rallies. adoption organizers are hoping the new tone can help change deeply entrenched ideas and opinions about abortion.
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>> it really is just a natural component of fighting for the human dignity of all human life. >> reporter: ryan balmberger is an outspoken adoption advocate in the anti-abortion movement. >> we see a far smaller percentage of women who face pregnancies placing their children for adoption or making a loving adoption plan. it should be of concern. >> reporter: some critics say monahan is trying to put a benign face on a difficult decision. >> it's an opportunity to show they can put boots on the ground, they actually have support there. >> reporter: but jon o'brien, the president of catholics for choice, says despite the crowds every year at march his opponents are falling well short of their goals. >> 41 years later and they've not overturned roe v. wade. the reality is that support for choice remains solid. >> reporter: anti-abortion activists point to laws changing in their favor in 23 states in
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2013 as evidence of a changing tide on the subject. >> the majority of americans are 100% pro-life. pro liv -life is the new normal. we're so excited. as you can see, there are hundreds of thousands of people here marching. they want to go to the capitol and to the supreme court to tell them that we believe in life. >> reporter: according to a cnn poll last may, 36% of americans said abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances. 42% said it should be legal in few circumstances. 20% said it should never be legal. but it's a minority of americans who have the position of no abortion in any case. >> the majority of americans strongly favor some restrictions on abortion, and roe versus wade is essentially abortion without restriction. >> reporter: march for life does not support legal abortion in any cases, not rape, not incest, not when the life of the mother is at stake. >> so we are 100% pro-life. >> reporter: monahan is hoping to change the march into a
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year-round operation. she says they've brought on a full-time washington lobbyist to take their fight not only to the supreme court but to congress. >> president obama today issued a statement on the 41st anniversary of roe v. wade saying, "we recommit ourselves to the decisions guiding principle that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. we reaffirm our steadfast commitment to protecting a woman's access to safe, affordable health care, her right to privacy." the republican national committee is holding its winter meeting in washington, d.c., which they've called building to victo victory. as to a hint for what issues there might be, they left the schedule open for members to attend the march to life. a resolution supported by 16 rnc members will be introduced at the meeting to support republican pro-life candidates who fight back against democratic deceptive war on women rhetoric by pointing out the extreme positions on abortion held by democratic
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opponents. is this a move to keep social issues a major component of the republican party or is it about keeping women in the fold? with midterm elections this year, what else is on the agenda for republicans? well, with more on the meeting let's bring in cnn national political reporter peter and dana bash. why now? why focus on anti-abortion efforts this year? >> well, i think in the wake of ken cuccinelli's race last year in virginia where he got absolutely drubbed by millions of dollars of ads on this war on women subject and he didn't articulate a forceful response so, now i think you see rare agreement between grassroots conservatives and sort of party officials, establishment pragmatists who are really -- want to arm candidates with ways to talk about this issue that don't frankly offend women and swing voters. that's what this resolution is about. it's almost a messaging memo, advice to candidates about how to talk about issues citing polling data like you mentioned
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in your piece, like the ways in which the public supports some abortion regulations, how they oppose late term abortions, support parental consent, thing like that. the problem of course is that they're kind of rolling the dice here because for a lot of republican kanld dames this isn't about tactics. this is about principles. these are things people believe in. so there might not necessarily be on message when they're talking about this issue this year. >> dana, you spoke with the rnc chairman talking act the focus on this issue, abortion. what did he have to say? >> a lot of what peter just said specifically about the fact there are republican candidates out there who are getting pummeled by democrats because of this war on women focus which democrats think is a winning focus for them and that republicans do need statistics to fight back especially on issues that do poll pretty poorly for democrats on some abortion-related issues. i asked him about that. isn't there a danger in republicans being too aggressive on an issue that is divisive
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when it comes to the very people you're trying to attract, which are women? >> it's not divisive. 80% of the people in this country don't believe that after being five months pregnant that we ought to legalize abortion. women don't agree with it. it's false. >> reporter: that may be true, but once some of your candidates go down that road they risk stepping in a big political pothole. >> our candidates risk being silent and getting punched in the face on a bogus war on women. and i think they thought to fight back. >> it's interesting, one of the things that i've been hearing a lot this week during this anniversary is why aren't you talking about president obama's record on abortion? when he was a state senator he voted for this extreme measure and when he was -- you know, he's the extremist, not republican candidates. that seems to be what we're going to hear a lot more of in 2014. >> i think so too. i think to sort of take it back a notch, you know, what republicans are doing and they
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have been for the last year, talking about how to make sure 2012 doesn't happen again or gets worse, that they're narrowly getting the e electr t of white guys. before that, we have 2014. and the rnc chairman admitted this to me. this is going to be a base election meaning they have to in a midterm election get out the core republican voters and it is especially true talking about the republicans' quest to take over the senate because a lot of the key races are in states where president obama lost to mitt romney. so those are actually -- it's fertile ground for getting these conservatives out. >> peter, i want to fast forward to 2016 and put up a new quinnipiac poll, the overall mixed numbers from some of the big republican names, christie, 12%, this is about who should get the nomination, christie 12%, paul 13%, cruz 9%, bush 11%, jeb bush, paul ryan 13%. there's not really a front-runner at all. they're all kind of huddling in the nowhere zone. >> yeah, absolutely. i was actually just over at the rnc meeting talking to members
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about this. i was talking to a lot of them about chris christie and the swirling issues. republicans still like chris christie. you know, they think he's frankly under attack by the media, the left, the liberal media, and wondering why we're asking such tough questions about him and not president obama. that's their words. i was in iowa a couple weeks ago. i mean, every name comes up. rand paul, ted cruz, paul ryan. it's completely a wide-open field here. so i think frankly the republican party's focus when you talk to, you know, party chairman or whatever, is on this year. i think that's a genuine sentiment. they want to apply a lot of the lessons of 2012 to this election cycle. >> don't forget what happens in this year, in november of 2014. it's going to determine a lot of what happens in 2016 with regard to who votes, if the republicans get the senate, and also how republican candidates are going to see where their electorate is and what they have to do to get there. >> two of the best in the business, day ma bash, peter
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hamby. thanks so much. coming up, he says his rant was immature but richard sherman thinks it's the media who should be embarrassed. that's our sports lead. ♪ humans -- even when we cross our "t's" and dot our "i's," we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness with our auto policies. if you qualify, your rates won't go up due to your first accident.
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welcome back to "the lead." now it's time for the sports lead. he's ban cornerback most of his career, but this may be the fist week seattle seahawks player richard sherman learned what it's truly like to play defense off the field. he's been making the media rounds taking on critics of this rant after his team's nfc championship win against the 49ers. >> i'm the best coroner the game! when you try me with a sorry receiver like crabtree, that's the result you're going to get! don't you ever talk about me! >> who was talking about you? >> crabtree. don't you open your mouth about the best, or i'm going to shut it for you real quick. >> once again, i apologize to
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mr. sherman, but we're going to talk about him. the outspoken athlete hasn't shied away from the attention he's received, both positive and negative following the outbust. he's since apologized for verbally attacking another player, the aforementioned mr. crabtree, but he's also expressed disappointment at some of the reaction which included people tossing racial slurs at him on twitter and elsewhere. he told cnn's rash el nicholls there's more to him than what people see on the field. in a news conference about an hour ago he said some of the people who attacked him are the ones who should really be embarrassed. >> we're talking about football here and a lot of people took it a little further than football. i guess some people showed, you know, how far we've really come in this day and age. i was on a football field, you know, showing passion. you know, maybe it was misdirected, maybe things may have been immature, things could have been worded better, but this is on a football field. i wasn't committing any crimes, you know, doing anything illegal. i was showing passion after a football game. you know, i didn't have time to sit there and contemplate what
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am i going to say. the people behind computer screens typing had all the time in the world to contemplate everything they were going to say and articulate it exactly how they wanted to. some of it i'm sure they're pretty embarrassed about. >> joining me now is "washington post" sports columnist mike wise. he brings up a decent point. we in the media and fans always complain about, you know, the boring interviews that athletes give, the bull durham thing about i'm just going to go out there and do my best and hope that god blesses me. he comes out right after winning the game, obviously very excited and judging him on this 15 seconds. >> i'm not going to completely be his apologist, and i did think it was bad timing because his team did win the super bowl and he apologized for that. but all we want now is somebody that's not bill belichick in front of a microphone. we want aauthenticity. as a reporter and a watching american audience, we're tired of the vanilla stuff. we want authenticity.
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richard sherman in that moment was very authentic and he spoke his truth. yeah, it was a little arresting and erin andrews didn't really know what to do with it, but nonetheless he was who he was in that moment. >> right, he wasn't humble. but then again, i don't know what kind of humility we expect these guys to display after winning a game like that in the manner it was won. he said something very interesting. obviously race is a big part of this too as it is in so many debathes in america today. this is what he had to say about being called a thug. >> this seems like it's the accepted way of calling somebody the "n" word nowadays. it's like everybody else says the "n" word and then thug, oh, that's fine. what's the definition of a thug, really? can a guy on a football field just talking to people, you know -- maybe i'm talking loudly and doing something, you know, talking like i'm not supposed to but i'm not -- you know, there's a hockey game where they didn't even play hockey. they just threw the puck aside and started fighting. i saw that and i said, oh, man, i'm the thug? what?
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what's going on here? >> he has a point there too. he didn't curse. he didn't say anything really -- it was the manner which he said it more than what he exactly said. >> the greatest crime in american sports for an african-american athlete now jake is arrogance. you could be a shoplifter and taking computers in college. you can be an actual criminal and be thought of more reverentially than you were if you were arrogant. i think it's wrong. there's something about it that bothers me. it says a lot about us. when i was doing shaquille o'neal's autobiography several years ago, he said when david robinson uses the saxophone -- and he goes off on these intellectual pursuits -- everybody says, david robinson, great off the court interest. when i make a dumb movie and a bad rap album, they say shaquille o'neal, thug. there's a complete double standard there. >> they were bad movies. >> they were. >> but he shouldn't be called a
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thug. he also shouldn't be called an actor. >> it's almost koefcovert racis. richard sherman is exactly right. when we see a hockey guy swapping fists with another hockey guy who happens to be white, all of a sudden those two people are enforcers. >> i grew up a couple miles away from the philadelphia flyers. those guys were thugs. >> right. >> that's what they were. >> goons. >> we loved them. mike, thanks for coming in. we appreciate it. cnn will air a full interview with richard sherman this friday night on rash chel nicholls' sh. don't miss "unguarded." the same guys who throw folks in gitmo can apparently come after you for wearing your google glass to the movies. an ohio man got hauled out of a movie screening over the weekend after he was spotted wearing the high-tech device and suspected of trying to illegally record the film. he wasn't just questioned by local police or the mall cops but by agents from the department of homeland security. managers at the theater reached
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out to the motion picture association of america when they suspected the guy of piracy and the mpa sent in homeland security to investigate. turns out the guy had his glasses on because they're prescribed. no evidence he tried to record anything on hem. amc theaters apologized for the mishap and of course offered him four free movie passes. it was supposed to stay a secret as the contents of the briefcase in "pulp fiction," but the script for quentin tarantino's next movie is leaked. he's so angry about it he's shelving the project. it is -- or was a western called "the hateful eight." q.t. isn't sure which inglorious bastard leaked it. he only gave it to four actors. he thinks one of them let an agent read it and then it was all over town. he tells deadline he'll publish the script and maybe return to the project in a few years. follow me on twitter @jaketapper, all one word, and also @theleadcnn.
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i now turn you over to mr. wolf blitzer. he is right next door "the situation room." wolf? all right, jake. thanks very much. happening now, breaking news. israel says it's spoiled an al keed-linked plot to attack the united states embassy and other key targets. syrian peace talks begin with a war of words and a tough warning from the united states. i'll speak with an adviser, a top adviser to the president of syria, bashar al assad. plus, shocking and very provocative comments from iran's foreign minister suggesting perhaps the u.s. gave away too much in that nuclear deal with iran. the foreign minister of iraq goes one-on-one exclusively with cnn. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." let's begin with the breaking news out of israel where authorities now say they've busted an